Gull Lake Remodel

Filed in Feature Homes by on October 6, 2015

1015LAHM-Gull-Lake-176-960x400By Jenny Holmes | Photography by Bryan Wendland

Gary Severson is no stranger to lake home remodel projects. In fact, the architectural designer at Structures International in Nisswa, Minn., has over 40 years of experience under his proverbial tool belt.

But when asked to join the team to return this century-old lake cabin to its glory, Severson said the project allowed him a unique opportunity to take a trip back in time.

Believed to be one of the earliest properties built on Gull Lake near Nisswa, the cabin dates back to 1914. The homeowners, residents of the Twin Cities area, recently spent their eighth year at the cabin and said they were initially drawn to its charm and rich history. However, as their children have grown – along with the size of their family – they felt a need to increase the footprint of the structure to better accommodate guests.

1015LAHM-Gull-Lake-107Severson was first contacted by interior designer Jyl Graves. Graves, owner of Jyl Graves Interiors of Wayzata, was the connecting link between the homeowner and Severson. Having done work with both parties, Graves said she felt the project was a good fit for Severson.

“Gary was also interested in preserving and extending the look and feel of the original cabin, says the homeowner. “We were confident in his ability to create an addition that would look like it had been there from the beginning. He stopped to check on the progress of the build almost daily and sent us pictures and updates regularly.”

“The structure had been a once-remodeled cabin, but it never lost its charm,” Severson noted. “We wanted to come up with materials to take it a notch back farther so it was more like a heritage home.”

Severson describes the property as a family encampment with two guest cottages and one main house situated on the lot. From the start, the homeowners expressed their desire to maintain the cabin’s historical integrity while allowing it to also come into the 21st century.

1015LAHM-Gull-Lake-095“We wanted it to look like it had been there a hundred years, but with modern appliances,” the homeowner recalled. Severson and Graves went to work with a checklist that included increasing space in the cabin for gatherings, preserving and carrying through its rich history, as well as providing modern day touches and amenities that could be utilized all year long.

“When you’re in it, it’s a real nice cabin,” Graves noted. “It’s quaint and small, but has a lot of character and coziness to it. There were so many unique features from the original property that we tried to carry through into the remodel and ensure the exterior still matched up with its original façade.”

The homeowner adds, “The cabin’s 100- year-old stone fireplace is just so lovely, we had to preserve it.” Severson said he and his team were intentional of choosing materials that would amplify the look of the 1920s, including wrought iron, and recycled flooring designed to look like the same Douglas fir customary of that era. Framing was made to resemble an old stick cottage.

1015LAHM-Gull-Lake-002A plan for complete redesign was established. The existing kitchen would be renovated into an extension of the living space and the former master bedroom transitioned into a guest suite; while a new kitchen, dining room, laundry room, four-season sunroom, and master suite and bath were constructed.

“The kitchen is fabulous,” Graves said. “Gary put in great skylights. And the kitchen leads out into the sunroom, which is so bright and cheery and looks out onto the beautiful view of the yard and lake.”

Graves assisted the homeowner in choosing the right finishes for the flooring and cabinetry, as well as color schemes, fixtures and décor to emulate the circa 1914 look.

“The neat thing is her style was very cottage vintage. We would take a look at what she had existing and simply add to it,” Graves said. “The bathroom has a fabulous claw foot tub and chandelier. But still, with the tile, we selected classic finishes that won’t go out of style. It was the same thing in the kitchen: all classic finishes. That was important.”

Graves said the homeowner also requested they recreate the paneling from the original property. So it was determined to hang vertical planking to provide a painted look. In the sunroom, paneling was switched to a horizontal plane.

1015LAHM-Gull-Lake-132Lending to a sort of east coast cottage feel, light hues were used throughout the cabin; and, in the sunroom, a pale blue hue offers just enough color when applied to the wood ceiling.

A partial wall separating the guest room from the rest of the cabin was finished floor to ceiling to offer additional separation and privacy. However, an open floor plan allows for ease in entertaining and accommodating larger groups of guests. And large windows magnify the beauty of the property that has, no doubt, seen its share of the changing times over the past 100 years.

Unanimously, the homeowners as well as Graves and Severson were pleased with the finished product that ultimately brought old to new and new to old.

“The low profile cabin lines are in keeping with a cabin of the 1920s,” Severson said. “My favorite highlight is that with the new addition, you can’t tell what is original and what is new. That, truthfully to me, is the essence of what the homeowner wanted. What we did should now be timeless.”

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